Tuesday, April 19, 2016

To Those Quietly Carrying Their Crosses...

During Lent, my cousin sent me a CD to listen to.  Along with it was a note saying that the CD had touched her life, and she wanted it to touch mine.  I didn't know who all she sent them to.  I knew her well enough to know that there wasn't a hidden agenda, but she thought I might need it for some reason.  I did.  Even though I really didn't want to need it.

The CD is called The Hidden Power of Forgiveness and can be purchased here.

I listened to it alone on the way home from Amarillo a few weeks ago, and so much of it punched me in the gut.  I saw myself in so many of the examples he described.  I don't feel that I struggle with forgiveness in all areas of life.  I don't even feel that I'm a truly bitter person.  But, there are a few single, very specific areas that I have a very difficult time with.  And here's what it looks like:

I typically want to be justified in feeling the way I do.  I want someone to say that I was wronged.  I want the person who wronged me to apologize.  And, I want things to get better.  But, life doesn't always work that way.  In fact, many times, those specific instances can leave a deep pain that takes a long time to heal, if ever.   But, this CD...this talk...urged listeners to let it go.

My immediate response was, "How?"  How do you go about your daily life and open yourself up to be hurt, get hurt, and let it go?  How do you keep presenting yourself, running the risk of being hurt again and again, and not grow bitter?  How do you really let anything go?

Without giving away everything this man said in his CD, it all came down to this...Jesus already paid the price.  Whoever has hurt you doesn't owe you anything.  While an apology and reparation would be such a blessing, it's not required, but our forgiveness is.  Seems a bit one-sided...a bit unfair, doesn't it?  Are we supposed to let people "walk all over us"?  Are we to not say a word when we've been hurt deeply?  The questions run through my mind more often than I want to admit.

But, as I sat in the car listening to the man's words, I realized what I didn't want to realize before.  I had forgiven.  More specifically, I had willed it.  But, I'm still having a hard time feeling it.  And do you know who is a prisoner to that bitterness?  Me.  Only me.  It doesn't concern or bother the one who hurt me.  My pain isn't keeping that person in an interior cell.  God has paid the price...for their sins...and for mine.

So, from here on, I must let it go.  I must love in whatever way I can.  I must pray for my heart to feel what my mind wills.  I have a feeling it will be a daily prayer.

With that in mind, we each have our crosses.  Some others will never know about.  Some that are larger than others.  The important thing is that we carry them and ask Jesus for strength when we feel as if the weight will crush us.  For whatever cross you are carrying, be it one or many, I'm praying for you.  Please pray for me, too.

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